ERA09LA431
ERA09LA431

On July 31, 2009, about 1100 central daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-502B, N60237, was substantially damaged following a loss of control shortly after takeoff from a private airstrip in Minter City, Mississippi. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual. The certificated commercial pilot sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137, agriculture flight. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot, he was on his forth load of the day, and had taken on 430 gallons of fungicide. He departed to the northeast and turned west. He said everything was normal until he got closer to a pecan orchard. As he got closer to trees, the airplane began to "mush" and started shaking. He said he "hit" the dump lever but not hard enough to activate it. The next thing he remembered was being on the tailgate of a truck.

The pilot’s brother stated that he had spoken with the pilot in the hospital and he asked him if he had a loss of engine power. The pilot told him that he did not. He stated that he had taken off to the northeast and turned to the west. He was not able to clear the pecan trees. The airplane struck three pecan trees and spun around before coming to rest on the ground facing northeast again.

Examination of the wreckage by an inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration found the engine separated from the airframe and the propeller attached to the engine. The propeller blades were observed bent and curled. The wings were damage by tree impacts along the leading edge. The cockpit was observed crushed and the empennage had separated near the vertical stabilizer. Examination of the engine and airframe found no evidence that would have prevented normal operation.

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